Module 3 Chapter 1 - Flight of Fancy
I spent some time thinking about objects that can fly, e.g. birds, some insects, butterflies, planes, kites etc. and decided to collect images of Chinese kites, which quite often are representations of butterflies, birds, dragons and dragonflies. I collected images of these and also made drawings and sketches of the ones I liked or found most interesting.
Chinese butterfly kites
This drawing was made with pencil and then coloured in felt tip as I wanted to use quite bold colours. The proportions of the top set of wings are not quite accurate.
This drawing was more successful and I also made close-up drawings of parts of the patterns on the wings that I liked. Again the colouring was completed in felt tip. I like the detail on this kite and there is potential to develop some parts into future designs.
Some bird kites...
I sketched part of the wing on the second bird kite as I liked the detail and colours of the original. I like this drawing as I think I have captured the proportions and also the colours. I used pencil here as the colours needed were quite subtle and some darker shading was needed in places.
Another theme that I thought fitted the flights of fancy theme was imaginary birds, e.g the phoenix.
I discovered a multitude of images and have uploaded a few of my favourite ones.
I particularly liked these pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter (above).
Chapter 1 Sample 1
I chose this image of a butterfly from my collection of source materials, as I liked the colour combinations used.
I tried to match the colours I could see, using Caran D'ache water soluble pencils. When looking closely, I could see a large range of colours that weren't obvious at a first glance.
I then made a design of some of the colours I could see - I used a darker blue, red, purple and yellow.
Once I had finished my design, I went over the colours with a wet brush, letting some of the colours blend together.
I tried to recreate the pattern I had designed using transfer paints on satin. This was reasonably successful, although the blue was lighter than I expected and the purple came out darker!
I sewed over the background using a zigzag stitch, in similar colours to the transfer paints. Where the colours blended together, I let the rows of stitching overlap each other. I also let some patches of the background fabric show through the stitching as I like the contrast in texture this created. I preferred the stitched sample to the painted one, as I could choose a deeper blue to brighten up the pale blue of the transfer paint. Overall, I thought that I managed to create a good balance between the lighter and darker colours. This type of background has potential to be stitched over and embellished even more if used in a future project.
More stitched backgrounds
I chose one of the Chinese butterfly kites from my collection of pictures as inspiration for this design. I went back to my sketches and liked the shape of the pattern below from my drawings and thought that it would make an interesting stitch design for a background.
I adapted the design to make a shape that kept the original teardrop shape, but had smoother edges.
I then used gold thread to make the outline of the stitched pattern, cable stitch in an orange/gold 12wt thread inside the design, and then a light green and red to fill in the centre of the pattern. I filled in the space between the gold outline and orange cable stitch with granite stitch in gold thread.
I stitched over a space dyed felt background in purples and pinks, and left this showing between the stitched pattern. The stitching was quite dense and created an almost 'quilted' effect against the background.
I liked the final sample, as the shape worked well as a design and I liked the colours that I chose against the purple/pink background. The light green provided a lift against the other colours that I used. I found the cable stitch quite difficult to control, as some of the orange thread looped whilst I was sewing. Maybe I need more practice at selecting the correct tension for this stitch & thread?
Automatic stitch patterns on velvet
For the following samples I used a piece of silk velvet that I had previously dyed in red and yellow.
This was an automatic stitch pattern that created an 'x' shape on the velvet. I used a variegated thread, that created and interesting effect against the space dyed fabric. I placed the rows of stitching at different widths from each other, but I could have also tried overlapping them for a more textured effect.
vermicelli automatic stitch pattern
This stood out quite clearly from the velvet background as it was quite a dense stitch pattern. I like how the effect of the stitch appears to change as the colour of the background changes.
This had a tendency to disappear into the pile of the velvet and it is quite difficult to detect the tulip flower. However, this might useful to use, depending on the effect I am trying to create.
I thought that this stitch pattern had quite a lot of potential for future use as it combined both the density needed to be visible and also the flexibility to create space or overlapping of stitching, depending upon how it was used.
Layers of sheers - Sample 7
I layered strips of purple, green, gold and bronze sheers against a cream calico background. I then burnt away some of the fabric, using a heat gun.
I liked the effect of the fabric curling up from the heat and also the darker patches where it had started to singe. It gave the background a worn and aged effect, which could be stitched over as part of a background in later work.
I could have let the fabric burn away more, but didn't want big patches of the calico to show through - perhaps I could have burnt away more if I had used a darker background fabric?
Snippets of Sheers - Sample 8
For this sample, I used snippets of red, green, orange, purple and bronze sheer fabric, between light purple and green outer layers. I twisted the sheer fabric before snipping, so that I created curly and spiral snippets, which created interesting patterns when fixed between the two outer layers.
This was a very interesting sample to create, as the snippets appeared to change colour depending on which side of the fabric they are viewed from. The dark green snippets look as thought they are dark purple or brown when viewed from the 'green' side of the sample.
If this kind of sample was stitched and then manipulated as a 3D structure, some very interesting effects could be created by the translucent fabrics.
Snippets of black fabric - Sample 9
For this sample I gathered black fabrics such as velvet, silk, cotton and satin, which I then cut unto small snippets, overlapping each other on a black felt background. I stitched a grid pattern over the snippets to secure them in place. The resulting sample showed that there are many different shades of black, even though it is a colour that we usually think of there being only one shade of! This sample was quite difficult to photograph, as some of the snippets look grey, even though they are black 'in the flesh'! The different textures of the fabrics used created the interest here - this would be useful to try in different shades of other colours, perhaps blues or golds?
Angelina fibres - Sample 10
This was my first experiment with Angelina fibres - I had heard of them and seen them in bags in shops but had never really understood how they were used.
I bonded these to a black felt background and liked the combination of colours that I had chosen, but I think that I probably made a beginners' mistake of not realising that a little goes a long way - I have created quite a dense 'cloud' of colour! I did think that this kind of background held a lot of potential for stitching over and working into textile designs. Also, it was fun to guess how the final result would turn out and then see if I was right!
Painted fusible webbing - Sample 11
I painted the fusible webbing with a mixture of pink, blue and gold fabric paint. I then transferred strips of the painted webbing onto a dusky pink silk fabric background. I stitched over this in lines of dark pink, blue and gold metallic thread. I felt that the stitching blended well with the fabric colour and painted background, but didn't really like the finished sample as the painted fusible webbing stood out too much from the background. perhaps the painted I used were too bright compared with the dark pink, or more stitching/ embellishment would be needed to make the different elements used be more cohesive?
Printed and stitched background - Sample 12
For this sample, I went back to some of the pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter, that I had collected as design sources. I particularly liked the shapes of the wings and outlines of the birds on these prints.
I made the printing block design quite 'chunky' out of foam and mounted it onto thick card.
I printed over a cream felt background, deciding on a randomly printed effect. I used metallic fabric paint in a dark green and pink. I then embellished the printed shapes with variegated thread. I used a variegated green around the green printed shapes - sewing around the straight edges and inside the printed shape. I used a variegated purple thread around the pink printed shapes, sewing around the curved edges and half of the inside edges.
I liked this sample most out of all the samples for this chapter, as I thought there was a good balance between the printed areas and the background. I also thought that the stitching enhanced the printed shapes and that there was an effective balance and contrast in colour.
Close up of the completed design